A new wave of changes is about to invest our daily lives! Whole sectors will soon be totally upset by new economic actors that promise epochal changes! The name of this new technology Tsunami is ” sharing economy “!
What is the Sharing Economy?
The Sharing Economy promotes more conscious forms of consumption based on reuse rather than on purchasing and access rather than on ownership.
It translates to the expression ” economy of sharing “. However, there is still no unambiguous definition and facts under the umbrella of the Sharing Economy fall under very different forms and practices of sharing and collaboration.
Everything happens through Web Portals and mobile APPs, created by startups that are almost always US companies that invest millions of dollars to create both the “platform” and especially the community! Indeed, it is this that determines the success or otherwise of an initiative of this kind.
The spread of the sharing economy is then favored by the ongoing evolution of consumption . The demand for many goods and services according to traditional models has in fact fallen due to the crisis but in fact it has simply transformed and found fertile ground precisely in the sharing economy.
Company characteristics in the shared economy model
Following are the main features of the business model based on the shared economy:
1. Technology behind it all
The sharing economy is a model based on the use of technology. It is thanks to technology, in fact, that contact between strangers is made possible, simple and immediate and it is always thanks to it that it is possible to access a specific service at any time and from anywhere.
2. No ownership of assets
The companies that base their business on this model are limited to organizing and managing a web platform with relative community. Goods and services are therefore not offered by the company, but by the same people who are part of the community!
3. People are the real asset
Building a community generates a new way of doing business! The key to success for these companies is to be able to bring together people with the same problems, interests, etc. and make sure that their union creates advantages and opportunities for everyone! People are the real asset of these companies!
4. Economic and experiential convenience
People love these platforms so much for the simple fact that they offer important advantages both in economic and experiential terms!
Very often, moreover, these services are so new and revolutionary that they completely overcome those that existed only a few months earlier in the traditional economy!
Some successful sharing economy companies
It was probably, in chronological order, the first real company to believe in the share economy and to give it the vital lymph it needed to expand in other sectors as well.
In fact, what traveler has always done is giving its members the opportunity to review any activity around the world (hotels, bars, restaurants, shops, B & Bs, places, etc. etc.) so that they can share own experiences with those interested.
Who is it that today does not take a peek at these reviews before booking a hotel or restaurant?
Immediately after TripAdvisor, E-bay is certainly the company that most of all has contributed to creating the culture of share economy.
The US company, created to allow its users to sell items to other members of the community, has focused on the possibility of leaving a post-purchase reference on the seller’s profile!
AirB & B
AirB & B is the startup that has brought the evolutionary process of the shared economy to a higher step. In fact, the US startup service allows anyone with an available room to rent it to a member of the same community.
A revolutionary idea that offers a chance to earn for the private individual and a saving for those looking for hospitality!
Bla Bla Car
It is the service that connects people who need a ride with those who have a car and is about to travel the same route.
A new way of traveling that not only lightens your wallets, reducing the costs of the bus and fuel respectively on both sides, but which also allows you to socialize.
Uber is a private car transport service that connects passengers and drivers. A kind of taxi service!
The peculiarity is that the role of the taxi driver is covered by a private person who makes his car available and himself as a driver.
Another great example of a share economy comes from the so-called coworking:
“Coworking is a work style that involves sharing a work environment. (…) The coworking activity is the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values and are interested in the synergy that can occur by working in contact with talented people “.
Many new startups such as WeWork are building on this business model of billionaire companies. Obviously, it’s not just about sharing a simple workplace but a real community with a lot of private social networks to put all the members in touch with each other and thus facilitate the emergence of synergies!
Users will become couriers! This is one of the latest rumors coming from the global e-shop giant of Jeff Bazos. On the wave of the success of other startups like Uber and AirB & B also Amazon is preparing to launch a new service in full share economy style!
Apparently, Amazon users could soon take the packages from one of the sorting centers and deliver them to those who ordered them in exchange for a fee from the US company! At the moment they are just rumors .. we’ll see!
Other success stories based on the concept of shared economy
A section a if they certainly deserve the following three phenomena that are contributing not just to the spread of the new paradigm of the shared economy:
The risks of the sharing economy
Unfortunately, the sharing economy does not only present advantages and opportunities but also a series of problems and risks that obviously fuel the national and international debate!
These companies , in fact, are the sole owners of the “web platforms” and do not possess the assets subject to sharing ! Having low fixed costs, they also have an impressive capital accumulation power !
When these companies reach a certain critical mass, from simple competitive companies they become real monopolists by raising insurmountable barriers to entry! Just think of facebook or whatsapp for example!
But the aspect that most of all is generating controversy is the fiscal and labor one ! Through these platforms, many individuals transform the service offered into a real job, but the proprietary companies continue to treat a job that presents itself as a subordinate in fact!
And in order not to miss anything, these same companies establish their headquarters in tax havens without paying even one euro in taxes in the countries where they are present!
Finally, there is the question of privacy linked to the data that these companies collect on their members, so much so that even here the judicial processes in progress cannot be counted anymore! In short, everything that glitters or is shared is not gold!
Beyond the advantages and risks that the sharing economy can bring with it, what is certain is that this evolutionary process cannot be stopped!
The only viable way is to try to proactively influence this development to find some desirable form of balance!